On my way to Opening Day

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I’m about ready to leave my fortified compound and hit the road up to Cleveland for Opening Day, where I’ll see the Tribe take on the White Sox.  While there I’ll be the guest of the Indians in the Indians Social Suite, which should be cool. Depending on the conditions (of both me and the suite) I may blog. But I will definitely be on Twitter spouting off about the game, so give me a follow.

I have mixed feelings about taking in games from suites. They’re fabulous — oh, they’re fabulous — but for all of the luxury, they’re kinda … well, wrong in some very important ways. As I wrote the first time I ever took in a game in a suite:

Baseball just isn’t baseball if you’re not trying to flag down a beer guy. Or fighting for arm rest space. Or listening to some yahoo three seats down explaining to everyone that Adam Dunn should “take what the defense gives him” and try to take balls the opposite way. I love the comfy environs of the suite life, but watching baseball shouldn’t be that easy. At the risk of trafficking in kneejerk populism, I can’t help but think that the experience of watching a game should simply be more democratic. I don’t feel comfortable being an elite up there in a skybox, even if I enjoy almost every second of it when I do so.

But no, you can’t have my ticket. Are you nuts? The White Sox were having friggin’ snowball fights at Progressive Field yesterday!  And let’s leave it to Ozzie Guillen to put an April 1st game in Cleveland in perspective:

“Very stupid to play in Cleveland right now. Nothing against Cleveland.  We expect that. When you play in Cleveland on Opening Day…a couple years ago they canceled like 30 games here.”

So, yeah, though I promise to sit in the outside portion as much as possible, I’m not gonna sneeze at the suite.  And save it, because if you say you would, you’re lying.

Play ball. And pass the caviar.

Rangers will not exercise Mike Napoli’s 2018 option

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The Rangers have informed 1B/DH Mike Napoli the club will not exercise his 2018 option, worth $11 million, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Instead, the Rangers will pay Napoli $2.5 million to buy him out of his contract, making him a free agent.

Napoli, 35, hit a disappointing .193/.285/.428 with 29 home runs and 66 RBI in 485 plate appearances this past season. Given his age and declining production, it’s not shocking that the Rangers want to look elsewhere.

Napoli turns 36 at the end of the month. Given his age and worsening peripheral stats, he will likely have to settle for a one-year deal this offseason.